The Sandwich Generation

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Boy, that title is really misleading if you are hungry or want to identify with a lunch special! While ‘The Sandwich Generation’ even kind of sounds like a cool band name, it really has nothing to do with bread, cheese or meat! It actually is the name of a group of people, usually in their 30’s and 40’s who care for their aging parents while also tending to raising kids of their own. Last year, not long after the birth of my Son, I fell into this category and it was something I was not prepared for. Being a first time mother had plenty of surprise challenges that I was doing my best to adjust to. So when my Father needed a little extra help, I didn’t realize that soon I would be considered a “caregiver” rather than just his Daughter getting some things taken care of for him.

As with anything that sort of creeps up on you, I didn’t notice all these extra tasks I was taking responsibility for until I reached a breaking point. There was lots of anger, burnout, sadness, and confusion about what was realistic and what needed accomplished. I will be the first to say that even with the minimal amount of my Father’s needs being met I felt very torn and caught in the middle of him and my child. I felt overwhelmed with the needs of a baby who needed me to survive and an adult who needed me to help him navigate a new chapter of assuming less freedom and neither were very easy to appease when they overlapped. I have been trying to find that balance over the past year or so and it is something that I fail at continually. But I keep trying. 

One of the largest challenges I have faced is having to really, truly put aside my differences with my Father, as we have always butted heads. I have had to take a step back, actually several steps back, to reevaluate him as a person to lower the veil of Father/ Daughter and see him as a human being and the strengths and weaknesses he has. And in doing so I have also found what it is that makes me tick and how to better understand myself to be a better mother and caregiver. However, I will be the first to tell you I have not mastered it and I have a long way to go! 

I recently attended a caregiver seminar at my church and it really helped me to open my eyes to what being a caregiver means. It gave me new perspective and better ideas about approach. The speakers gave me some great ideas and provided some outlets for my Father to do locally to keep him occupied and active while I focus more on entertaining my son. Although as my Father and Son get older I realize that there will be far more things pulling me in both directions. I also realized that there are many others out there, like me, in this Sandwich Generation and how this really isn’t something new, but rather something that is drawing more attention lately because with medical advances people are living longer and therefore families are caring for loved ones longer. This is a subject that I hoped to shed a little light onto because there are other families dealing with this right now and have no idea that there is information, support and resources available to them. It was not until I sat down in a meeting that I realized the scope and magnitude this has in my own life. I hope that this article and the links attached give some perspective, relief and hope to anyone struggling with this balancing act.

 

While there are endless articles, books, blogs and groups out there, here are a few to get you started.

To read more about the Sandwich Generation click here: https://www.seniorliving.org/caregiving/sandwich-generation

For an article with resources for stress relief in the Sandwich Generation click here: https://www.caregivers.com/blog/2013/07/sandwich-generation-month

Caregiver 101: https://blog.caregiverhomes.com/sandwichgenerations

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Deanna is a life long Beaver County resident. She is a first time, stay-at-home mom. She and her husband are teaming up to raise an entertaining and energetic little boy, Roman, who is turning one this summer. We share our hearts and home with a rescue Labrador Retriever, Geno, who completes our family dynamic. Deanna has spent a handful of years as a Pre-Kindergarten daycare teacher, and studied Early Childhood Education during that time. Part of her work as a daycare teacher was to plan events in and out of the classroom setting. She found a calling in this and went on to become a certified Event Planner who enjoys hosting various themed and somewhat elaborate parties for close friends and family. Before motherhood, Deanna had become a voice in the PCOS community, sharing tips and information on the subject to provide hope and support to other women like her who have experienced or currently experience infertility. Spreading awareness on the subject is something she is passionate about after being diagnosed in 2016, the same year she was able to conceive thanks to her faith, healthy lifestyle changes, and medical intervention. After becoming a Mom, she has gone on to create and Administer the Facebook page, "Beaver County MOB (Moms of Boys)" exclusively designed for activities in the tri-county area for boys ages newborn- Middle School. She also began a recipe blog for busy moms who just want to get dinner on the table at www.mealswithmommy.com. Also in early 2017, she became a page editor for a small business Facebook page, Beanster Goods. In her limited spare time she volunteers for a card ministry through her Church, enjoys binging on Netflix or Hulu series, reading during middle of the night breastfeeding sessions, is a Pinterest enthusiast, likes trying new restaurants with her husband, traveling to new places, finding age appropriate activities in the community for her son, practices Hygge, trys to stay active outdoors, while occasionally hosting get togethers for her neighbors.